1 April 1886 • Thursday
Thursday, April 1/86 To-day is fast day and we observed it as usual by holding meeting. Bros. Wilcken, White, Bateman, Nuttall and Barrell spoke; I prayed and also spoke and President Taylor also. There was a very good spirit in the meeting. I was engaged to day in writing the Epistle.
2 April 1886 • Friday
Friday, April 2/86 Attended to correspondence and continued to work on the Epistle. We sent a letter to Bro. F. D. Richards suggesting to call a meeting of the P. E. Fund Company with a view to closing up its business, transferring its notes and accounts to the Trustee-in-Trust and dissolving the Company.
3 April 1886 • Saturday
Saturday, April 3/86 I finished the Epistle, copy of which I append, marking the parts which I wrote and those which were from the pen of Bro. George Reynolds and those which were from the pen of President Taylor. After compiling it I read it in the evening to President Taylor who expressed himself as being much pleased with it. A letter was written to Bro. F. D. Richards to-day requesting him, as the senior Apostle, to be present to take charge of the General Conference, which would commence to-morrow at Provo.
4 April 1886 • Sunday
Sunday, April 4/86 Busy this morning in making some little additions to the Epistle and arranging for some writings of President Taylor’s to be added. We were engaged in this until about two oClock p. m. when it was sent to the Office at the City to be copied, with instructions to be sent to Provo in the morning by special messenger. It was not convenient to hold meeting to-day and it was dispensed with. I dictated a letter to Bro. Jack as to how the Epistle should be copied and prepared; also to Bro. F. D. Richards, respecting various items of business[.]
THE FIRST PRESIDENCY,
Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints,
in General Conference Assembled.
Read April 6th, 1886,
FIFTY-SIXTH GENERAL ANNUAL CONFERENCE,
HELD AT PROVO, UTAH
SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH,
the deseret news company, printers.
an epistle of the first presidency
To the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints,
in General Conference assembled.
Dear Brethren and Sisters:2
In the plenitude of God’s mercy the Saints are once again permitted in peace to assemble in General Conference to worship the Lord, to extol His goodness, to glorify His name, to hear His word, and to receive such instructions from His servants as the Holy Spirit shall dictate, as well as to transact such business pertaining to His Church as may be presented for their consideration. But as we, your brethren of the First Presidency, are, by the force of peculiar circumstances, deprived on this occasion of your society and you of ours, we deem it consistent with the duties of our calling to address you by letter, and in this way to lay before you that which under more favorable conditions we should have been pleased to have delivered orally.3
In the first place, we extend our congratulations to you, as Latter-day Saints and members of the Church of Christ, that affairs with us are so favorable that so many can meet together as you do on this the fifty-sixth anniversary of the organization of the Church, in General Conference. Persecution has raged, and hideous wrongs have been and are being perpetrated against us as a Church, but thus far our enemies have not been permitted to go to such lengths as the persecutors of the people of God did in the days of the first Alma, when they put tasks upon his people and put task masters over them and put to death those whom they found calling upon God. Though many of us are deprived of the privilege of meeting together in public, yet a goodly number of you can assemble as you do this day and worship your God and listen to His word; and we all—prisoners, exiles and free—can call upon our God without danger of punishment therefor. Indeed, we need not go to the days of Alma for contrast between the condition of the people of God then and our present condition, to find causes for thanksgiving and praise to our God this day for His mercies unto us. We have only to refer to our own history, to scenes in which many of you have taken part, to find contrasts which should prompt us to bear our present afflictions with patient equanimity. Some of the Saints, perhaps, feel that their sufferings under the tyranny which is now exercised over us in the name of law are very severe, and they may ask how long shall these outrages be permitted to continue? But if they would understand how much worse our positions might be let them recall the scenes enacted in the State of Missouri, when the Latter-day Saints were driven by mob violence out of Jackson County into Clay County, and thence into Caldwell County, and finally were compelled to flee, in the depth of an inclement winter, out of the State, under an order of Lilburn W. Boggs, the Governor, which said “that the Mormons must be treated as enemies, and must be exterminated or driven from the State,” and this, too, after many of their number had been killed, and the remainder had been robbed of nearly all the property they had in the world; or, recall the treatment the Latter-day Saints received in the State of Illinois, when, after murdering, in the most savage and heartless manner, and while under the pledged honor of the State, the President and Patriarch of the Church, and wounding almost to death one of the Twelve Apostles, mobs organized themselves, burned the houses of the Saints in the outer settlements, destroyed their property and drove them for their lives to the City of Nauvoo; and then, not content with this, brought the whole power of the State to bear upon them to compel them to leave that city and the State and to take refuge, stripped and destitute, in the wilderness, where their enemies hoped internal dissensions, starvation or wild Indians would complete the work of destruction which they were not permitted to accomplish.
However grievous the wrongs under which we suffer to-day, there is much yet to be thankful for. Our land is filled with plenty. No cry of man or beast ascends from our borders to high heaven for the want of food; no beggars plead for alms in our streets, and no destitute soul has denied to him that sustenance necessary to supply his wants. And with these blessings of good food, comfortable raiment and sufficient shelter, we have the inestimable blessing of the peace of God, which He gives to every faithful Saint—peace in our hearts, peace in our habitations, peace in our settlements—a peace which the world cannot give, and which, thank the Lord, it cannot take away. Let your hearts, therefore, Brethren and Sisters, be filled with thanksgiving and praise to our God for His goodness and mercy unto us as a people. He has made promises concerning Zion; be assured He will not forget them. Zion may say, in the words of the Prophet Isaiah, “The Lord hath forsaken me, and my Lord hath forgotten me.”
But the Lord replies:
“Can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? Yea, they may forget, yet will I not forget thee. Behold, I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands; thy walls are continually before me.”
At no time has the Lord led His people to expect that they would not have to endure trials, or not have their faith fully tested.
Soon after this Church was organized His people were told: “for I have decreed in my heart, saith the Lord, that I will prove you in all things whether you will abide in my covenant even unto death, that you may be found worthy; for if ye will not abide in my covenant, ye are not worthy of me.” We scarcely need remind you that if you live godly in Christ Jesus, while Satan has power, you will suffer persecution.
In the providence of the Almighty persecution serves a most useful purpose. Every faithful Saint must perceive and acknowledge this. Each one feels its effect upon himself; he sees its effect upon his friends and neighbors. Persecution develops character. Under its influence we all know ourselves better than we did before we felt its pressure; and we discover traits in our brethren and sisters of the existence of which, perhaps, we were in entire ignorance. The persecution from which we have been suffering during these eighteen months past, though very painful, has not been without profit to the Latter-day Saints. It has strengthened and infused new zeal, courage and determination into the faithful. It has also caused many who were careless and indifferent to arouse themselves from their lethargy and to renew their diligence in the work of God. It has also brought to light the hypocrisy of many, and caused them to throw off the mask of friendship and fellowship which they wore and to exhibit themselves in their true lineaments. But it is upon the young of our community that the effect of this persecution has been most marked. Many of the young of both sexes, when all was peace and no war was made upon their parents and friends, seemed to be of the opinion that they could, without any danger to themselves or their faith, be in full fellowship with the world. The names Latter-day Saint and Gentile were alike to them. They appeared to see no reason why they could not be on terms of perfect friendship with both classes. Every Latter-day Saint of experience knows how dangerous it is for children to stand upon this ground. But from this delusive dream they have been awakened by the rude shock of this persecution. The line of demarcation between the Latter-day Saints and the world has been drawn so sharp and distinct that they find themselves (unless they become open apostates) compelled to take sides with their parents and friends; and the difference between their religion and that which is opposed to it is brought home to their hearts and consciences with a force never before known to them. This persecution is driving the rising generation together with surprising compactness. It is making impressions upon the youngest children of the community which the lapse of years can never obliterate. They are learning the truth of the words of the Savior by the painful experience which our enemies are now giving them, “If ye were of the world, the world would love his own; but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.”
The Lord has said, that the wrath of man shall be made to praise Him, and in this attack which is being made upon us and our religion we see this verified. Our enemies have designed to destroy the work of God. For this they plot and toil and descend to the depths of infamy. So absorbed are they in their wicked schemes, and so bent upon carrying them into effect, that they fail to look beyond the immediate acts which they perform and perceive the consequences which follow. They harass, annoy and torment men, women and children; they compel men and women to conceal themselves to escape from their cruelties and injustice and tyrannical abuse of power; and they consign other men and women to prison; and from these proceedings they derive great satisfaction, as they look upon them as so many evidences of their success in sapping the foundation of the Church of God and in uprooting our religion. We need not say to you, who have so often witnessed the effects of persecution upon our religion and Church, how fallacious are these hopes of our present persecutors. Instead of crushing the truth, they are advertising it; instead of showing the world how unworthy and contemptible we are, they are, unwittingly, furnishing us with opportunities to exhibit the heroic qualities we possess; instead of weakening or unsettling the minds of true Latter-day Saints, they are stimulating their faith and supplying them with additional proofs of the divinity of their religion. They would have the world believe that we are low, sensual, ignorant and degraded, that our religion is a system of lust; but the thinking people of the world know that there is no necessity to endure that which the Latter-day Saints are now enduring to gratify lustful appetites or desires. Licentious, depraved men and women would not suffer such treatment as Federal officials are now extending to us, and bear all manner of indignities and go unmurmuringly to prison, if they were assured, as we are, by courts and prosecuting officers that the war is against our marriages and not against sensuality if indulged in according to popular methods.
This persecution attracts the attention of the world. Its disgraceful features may be concealed for a while from public knowledge, through the lies so industriously propagated by those who are its promoters and instruments; but the truth concerning it is coming to light. For a while the feeling among those ignorant of our true character may have been one of indifference as to our fate, or to any treatment we might receive. As the persecution continues the truth leaks out by degrees. Men and women hear that scores of men, rather than accept the alternative of renouncing their wives and children, pay heavy fines and costs and go cheerfully for long, weary months to prison; and that delicate women, too, rather than betray their husbands and by their testimony involve them in the toils of their persecutors, go willingly to the penitentiary where the greatest criminals are confined. Thinking people read of these proceedings, and their former indifference gives place to interest. But while we acknowledge the hand of the Lord in these wicked acts of our enemies, they are not relieved from the condemnation which will follow them. They would deny us our rights as citizens, and they talk about us and act towards us as though we were not entitled to any such rights; but this is mere impudent assumption and claptrap on their part. We have rights. We were born free men and women, and it is a duty we owe to ourselves and our posterity and to all the people of this land that we should contend for and maintain the principles of freedom and transmit them unimpaired and undiminished to those who follow us. We do not ask for this freedom as a favor; we demand it as a right. We are as much entitled to the full rights of citizenship in these mountains as any other citizens who dwell under the flag of the Republic. Under any and all circumstances we are their peers.
Such trials as the Latter-day Saints now undergo in the courts in these Territories are not the trials of ordinary, vulgar criminals. However much those who figure as prosecutors, judges or jurors in these cases may scheme and plot and falsify to reduce them to this level, and to fix the brand of criminality or the stigma of infamy upon our conduct, they cannot deceive the world. This which we are now passing through is to all intents and purposes a religious persecution and nothing else. It will yet be recognized as such by the whole world. Its hideous features, its atrocious character, its travesties of justice, cannot be concealed by any amount of falsification or disguise. Already men are beginning to understand the motives and object of those who are engaged in it, and history will set its seal of condemnation upon it and them, and it will yet stand as an ineffaceable blot upon the boasted civilization and liberty of our generation.
The scenes which we are now witnessing in this Territory are the results of a deep-laid and carefully planned conspiracy, which has been in process of formation for years. Its originators knew the elements they had to deal with, and by cunning contrivance they have effected a wonderful combination. Religious and irreligious, ministers in sacerdotal robes and atheistic scoffers, business men of integrity and blacklegs, temperance men and drunkards, men of strict morality and pimps and harlots, are crowded together on the platform they have constructed, and they find no inconvenience from each others companionship. Each is made to believe that it is to his direct interest to combine to destroy “Mormonism.” A more motley collection of human beings was never witnessed. Differ as they may upon everything else, there has been one common thought and purpose running through the whole and holding them together, and that is hatred of the religion of the Latter-day Saints and a determination to destroy it and them. The conspirators have appealed to the prejudices of each one to induce him to work in concert for this common end. In the ministers they have found ready and willing allies; in fact, these have been the chief authors and promoters of the conspiracy. The Pharisees in the days of the Savior were no more ready to egg the multitude on to cry out “Crucify him, crucify him,” than many of the ministers of our time are to urge Congress to enact measures for our destruction. It is now some years since the sectarian ministers here (with the exception of the Catholic clergymen) combined in a document to Congress, urging that body to legislate against us.
This action they have often repeated since. Destitute of confidence in their own religious systems and their power to cope with the truth which we possess without aid from the secular power, they make the air resound with their clamors for Congress to pass laws to crush us and our religion. They enlist men of their cloth elsewhere in the same unchristian business. It is only a few months since, and at the time the whole machinery of the courts here was being used most savagely in sending men, and women also, to prison on account of their religion, that a deputation of these professed teachers of the doctrines of the crucified Redeemer called upon President Cleveland and presented a memorial signed by upwards of a thousand persons, and, it was said, by some of the most prominent divines in the country, earnestly urging him to enforce the anti-polygamy act! Could the old Pharisees have done any more?
But while the ministers engaged in the conspiracy through zeal for their own craft and sectarian hate, the moralist and the politician, the debauchee and the drunkard, were drawn into support of the plot by appeals to their interests. The cry of polygamy has made a good battle cry: this has called the fanatical element into line; but underneath and above this question of polygamy, and completely enveloping it, has been the design to destroy our rights as citizens, to take away from us our liberties under the Constitution and the laws, and to obtain the political control of our country, so that, being as voiceless in the affairs of government as the Indians or Chinese, we could be taxed and plundered with impunity, and be lorded over by a set of political harpies who would revel and fatten at our expense. This has been, and still is, the object of all the outcry raised against us, of the innumerable falsehoods with which the public journals have teemed, of the constant appeals to Congress to legislate against us, and of all the outrages in the name of law inflicted upon us by the courts. The same covetousness and envy that led mobs to band themselves together to drive us from our former homes are the sentiments which prompt the present attack upon us and our liberties. Then mobs acted openly and defiantly, regardless of law; now the policy is a more subtle one; it is to reach the same ends under the shelter and pretence of law. It meant robbery and the deprivation of rights under the old system; under it the new tactics means the stealing of the political control of the country, to be followed by rapine and spoliation.
Trace up the acts of the conspirators from the treason of the Governor in setting aside the will of the people and his usurpation of the powers of the National House of Representatives, in pronouncing upon the qualifications of one of its members, and giving a certificate of election as Delegate to Congress to a man whom the people had ejected, down through the greater part of the proceedings of the courts, and especially the conduct of the Governor during the last two sessions of the Legislative Assembly, and irrefragable evidences of conspiracy against the liberties of the people are apparent at every step. Every act of the conspirators is consistent with every other act to make their plot a success. While engaged in this nefarious business, they throw dust in the eyes of the nation by making an outcry against polygamy—as if they cared anything about our marriages—in order to conceal and accomplish their deeper design.
The most active tools in this conspiracy have been some of the Federal officials. Their positions have given them opportunities which they have been willing to avail themselves of. The preamble of the Constitution of the United States assigns as reasons why it was framed: “To form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity.” Most excellent reasons for framing such a charter of liberty, and every officer who acts under it should keep these objects in view. But many of the officers sent here have acted as though they were determined that none of these blessings for which the Constitution was framed should reach us. … Instead of seeking to establish justice and insure domestic tranquility, they have sought to array neighbor against neighbor, friend against friend, brother against brother, wife against husband and children against parents, and to loosen and destroy all the bonds which bind man to his fellow-man. Their mission has not been to build up and cement society, but to tear down and break it up. They have taken delight in their efforts to sow dissension and strife, to tempt wives to betray their husbands and to induce husbands, by threats of severe punishment if they refused to comply with their wishes, to disown and forsake their wives, and to discard and bastardize their offspring, and to turn loose, as forlorn outcasts, those whom they had solemnly covenanted to provide for and protect. When these officials commenced their attack upon us and our religion they found our homes filled with love and affection—husbands and fathers devoted to their wives and children, and doing all in their power to make them comfortable and happy; wives and mothers contented and at peace, honoring their husbands and proud of their relationship to them; and children whose respect and obedience testified to the reverence and esteem in which they held their parents. Husbands and wives and children dwelt together without compulsion or coercion. Nowhere on all this broad earth, where matrimonial ties are held to have binding effect, did such complete liberty exist as among the Latter-day Saints. It is true, wives were sealed to husbands by the eternal Priesthood of the Almighty, for time and all eternity; but this union in the first place was only made possible by love, and by love the tie is perpetuated. Women knew their rights, and they knew that they could not be compelled to live with an unworthy man. Happiness reigned in our homes, because freedom reigned there, and all had their full agency. No better proof of this need be adduced than the fact that in the midst of all this persecution, and the many inducements there are offered to women and men to dis[s]olve their family relationships, but few men have accepted the proffered terms and discarded their wives; and to the honor of our sisters be it said, not one woman that we know of up to the present writing has broken her marriage vow and dissolved her relations with her husband and children.
Yet it is to the destruction of these happy homes that all the efforts of these officials have been directed. In the sacred name of law, and under the guise of a pretended desire to enforce it, they would convert this condition of society, so peaceful and so admirable, into a pandemonium. They have worked to this end with such malignant cunning, such heartless persistence and such unscrupulous disregard of the principles of justice as have no parallel in American history; and that they have not accomplished this result has not been for the want of effort on their part, but because God has been with His people and His Spirit has been poured out upon them to strengthen and sustain them.
No man-made system or organization could have withstood the concentrated hate and violent assaults which have been directed against the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Division and weakness would have shown themselves, fatal breaches would have been made in the framework of the system, and the imprisonment or enforced concealment of the leading men would have been followed by a decay of faith and the disintegration of the organization. But the Lord, in establishing His Church, provided against such contingencies as these. He promised—and all have been urged to claim the fulfillment of the promise—that He would give to those who entered sincerely into covenant with Him, a testimony of the truth for themselves, and to bestow His Holy Spirit upon all. It is this promise and its fulfillment that to-day constitutes the strength of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
The Prophet Joseph Smith was once asked by a visitor to the city of Nauvoo, the good order and prosperity of which struck him with surprise, how it was that he governed the people so as to produce such admirable results. The memorable reply of the Prophet of God was: “I teach them correct principles and they govern themselves.” This was the secret of the good government at Nauvoo, and it is still the secret of the good order and freedom from strife and other evils which prevail among the Latter-day Saints in Utah and throughout all this mountain region where they have control. In what other community in the world could a governor, judges and other appointees act as these officials have done in Utah, without producing anarchy and the complete overthrow of all barriers which are erected for the protection of society and the rights of men? Our enemies are loud in their denunciation of the Priesthood and its influence upon the Latter-day Saints; but that violence and confusion do not reign in this fair Territory to-day is due to the teachings of that Priesthood and their influence upon the people who give heed to them. The people have been taught correct principles, and they govern themselves.
Do we overstate the truth when we say that every good, peaceably inclined citizen of Utah—Jew, Gentile and “Mormon”—would enjoy more peace, more prosperity, more kindly feelings towards each other to-day if we had no Federal officials at all of the class of many who are now among us? When a governor introduces himself to the world and to the people he is sent to govern, in all his public utterances from the platform, and through the press, as the latter’s avowed and bitter enemy, and prostitutes the powers of his high office to defame, malign and injure them, would not the Territory be better without such an officer? When judges openly announce from the bench that a law which is general in its language is to be made special in its application, and so instruct attorneys and juries, and punish with all the severity possible one class of citizens under its provisions while notorious offenders of another class go scot free, and, not stopping at this, go on to the public platform and denounce with voluble and unbridled truculence the class of citizens whose cases they expect to come before them to decide upon—had not the temple of Justice better be closed awhile, than such judges should sit therein? Instead of seeking to insure domestic tranquility, these officers have fomented strife, they have fostered religious hate, they have embittered class against class, they have sought in every way possible to destroy that charity which should exist in every community composed of citizens of different religions and politics. They have adopted and enforced a policy of non-intercourse between citizens. A Gentile citizen who has dared to speak of or treat a “Mormon” citizen as a friend and associate has been denounced and ostracized, and an impassable gulf has been created between them.
Is it any wonder, then, while some of the principal officers sent here to govern and maintain law, are the people’s greatest enemies and the most deadly foes to law and order, that prejudice upon all questions affecting us and our Territory should prevail? Or that Congress should be induced, regardless of the Constitution and its guarantees, under the pressure brought to bear upon it by the incessant clamors and misrepresentation of this class to enact measures that would reach such a people as we are described to be? The Edmunds law was begotten by prejudice, conceived in ignorance and brought forth in hate. But its enforcement in these Territories is in the spirit of merciless severity and undiluted malice, and those who prosecute under it have not the excuse which a deceived and blinded Congress might plead for its enactment.
The officials here have gone far beyond the letter and spirit of the law itself and strained it for the purpose of inflicting punishment; this was conspicuously so in the case of Elder Lorenzo Snow, one of the Twelve Apostles, whose trial upon the evidence presented would undoubtedly have resulted in his acquittal had he been tried before a righteous judge and an unbiased jury. If any one fact was more clearly established than another at his trial, it was that he was innocent of any violation of the law as charged against him. But he is a prominent man—one of the Twelve Apostles—and could not be permitted to escape. His case is now on appeal to the U. S. Supreme Court at Washington. . In order to have it put forward on the calendar, he surrendered himself to the officers, and is now in the penitentiary. The court has fixed a day when his case will be heard; and, as in every case that has gone to Washington, we hope, notwithstanding previous disappointments, that this will receive favorable consideration. It is of such trials as his—and his is but a sample of many others—that we justly complain. The law, as it passed Congress, was harsh and cruel and sufficiently destructive of our rights and liberties to satisfy the implacable author, but by packing grand and petit juries with jurors who are selected expressly because they are the pronounced opponents of the accused and their religion —by strained constructions of the law —by extraordinary rulings framed to suit each case without regard to preceding rulings on the same points—and by charges to juries which amount to direct instructions to convict, this law is made an instrument of the most frightful wrong, and in the torture which it inflicts goes far beyond anything ever conceived of by the men who voted for its passage. It is to be remarked of many of the officers who enforce the law that they seem to take delight in the misery which they think it brings. As to justice in these courts as now constituted, and with the animus the officials manifest, it is out of the question. Every one knows before a trial commences what the sentence will be. Not one escapes, no matter how flimsy or insufficient the evidence may be, who is indicted if the prosecuting officer has made up his mind there shall be a conviction. He finds a willing judge and a pliant jury ready to execute his decree. As to mercy the adamantine heart of the prosecuting officer is impenetrable to the sentiment. If he decides that a victim shall be sacrificed the agony of wives, the burning tears of innocent and helpless children touch him with no pity and have no more effect upon him than if he were made of stone. Impudence and ferocity sit upon his brow. In all his proceedings he has a ready coadjutor in the judge of the third judicial district, who browbeats the accused and evinces an inhuman exultation in pronouncing sentence, his only regret being, as he has expressed himself, that the law does not permit him to inflict sentences of greater severity. When these men decide upon the punishment which an accused man shall have, neither the eloquent arguments of counsel, nor the insufficiency of evidence, nor the scantiness of the law, is allowed to stand in the way of the pre-arranged sentence. If they decide upon one indictment or three, upon six or twelve, they have only to intimate to a grand jury that such is their wish and they can be gratified. The more distinguished the man the more certain his fate. No grand or petit jury has failed to find an indictment or a verdict against any man whom the prosecution and court have selected as a victim. The marshal, the prosecuting officers and the court, by the exclusion of all who have not been avowed enemies of the religion professed by the accused, and by the aid of the open venire, have been able to pack the juries to execute their will with unquestioning servility. Seeing, therefore, how useless it is to make defense, many of the accused have made none, but have plead guilty. In doing so they did not acknowledge the rightfulness of the law, nor the justice of the punishment; for they viewed the law as unconstitutional and destructive of religious liberty and the punishment as an act of persecution; but by pleading guilty they saved costs, and what was of still greater importance, they saved their wives and children the humiliation of going into the witness stand and being plied with indecent questions by the brutal prosecutors. The majority of the accused, however, have felt it to be a duty to contest every inch of the ground and to let the world see how utterly destitute of justice these courts are in their treatment of these cases. For this reason they have suffered their families to be exposed to the rudeness of deputy marshals and the insolence of prosecuting attorneys; though to have saved their loved ones from these indignities they would otherwise have been willing to endure the full punishment of the court for the offense with which they were charged.
Against the brutalities, usurpations and falsehoods of men dressed in a little brief authority, we have appealed and apparently, until quite lately, appealed in vain. Our request has been a very modest one; it was simply that the wrongs under which we were suffering might be investigated; but investigation was the last thing that the foes to our liberties desired. A few weeks since our sisters followed in the wake of the brethren, and in mass meeting assembled, at Salt Lake City, offered the same simple petition, sent up the same fervid cry for investigation, that the truth might be known and the real facts of the situation be made public. In their memorial to the President and Congress of the United States, they very consistently, and with the best grace in the world, modestly asked as follows:
“We respectfully ask for a full investigation of Utah affairs. For many years our husbands, brothers and sons have appealed for this in vain. We have been condemned almost unheard. Everything reported to our detriment is received; our cries to be heard have been rejected. We plead for suspension of all measures calculated to deprive us of our political rights and privileges, and to harass, annoy and bring our people into bondage and distress, until a commission, duly and specially authorized to make full inquiry into the affairs of this Territory, has investigated and reported.”
Is there anything unwise, imprudent or un-American in this? Do we injure man, woman or child by such a request? Are any person’s rights or liberties jeopardized or infringed upon by such a demand? We answer unhesitatingly, No! We simply ask for our own. Will not our fellow citizens grant it? We desire to infringe upon no one, in person or property, in rights or liberties, in privileges or immunities. All we ask is that they will grant us the same blessings they claim for themselves, and, if granted, we shall be abundantly satisfied.
Our sisters have had ample reason for their remonstrances and petitions. No where else on this broad land have the officers of the law treated women with the same indignity, inhumanity and indelicacy that they have in Utah and regions adjacent. Lady witnesses have been arrested, placed under heavy bonds, guarded by impure men, carried on long and unnecessary journeys at unseasonable hours of the night, harassed and perplexed by improper and, occasionally, indecent questions, and treated frequently as though they were criminals convicted of the blackest crimes. A number have been committed to the penitentiary for refusing to answer questions that reflected on their virtue, or tended to criminate those to whom they were joined by the most sacred ties of affection and duty. The first wives—those recognized by the law under which the officers were acting, as the legal wives—have, contrary to all precedent, been compelled to testify against their husbands. We do not mention this fact to draw any line of demarcation between the first and plural wives. If joined to their husbands by the eternal covenants of God’s house, all are alike honorable in His sight; His ordinances stamping their union as equally legal and lawful before Him. Their feelings are as acute, their affections as strong, their susceptibilities as delicate, one as the other. We simply mention this fact to show how utterly the judges and their aids ignore all precedents, ride over all well-established usages and make all things subservient—law or no law—to their effort, which, to use the expression of one of their leaders, uttered from the bench, is “to grind to powder” us and our institutions.
In Idaho Territory the usurpations of the officers have gone from bad to worse. They there out-Herod Herod in that disregard of the people’s liberties. One of the latest movements has in view the revocation of all certificates given to school teachers who are members of the Church of Jesus Christ, which means the placing of our children, by the help of our taxes, under the tuition of those who would gladly eradicate from their minds all love and respect for the faith of their fathers. The duty of our people under these circumstances is clear; it is to keep their children away from the influence of the sophisms of infidelity and the vagaries of the sects. Let them, though it may possibly be at some pecuniary sacrifice, establish schools taught by those of our faith, where, being free from the trammels of State aid, they can unhesitatingly teach the doctrines of true religion combined with the various branches of a general education. And in this connection permit us to urge upon the Saints in all the Stakes of Zion the necessity of caring well for the education of our youth. If we are to be a powerful people in the near future, wielding potent influence for good among the peoples of the earth, we must prepare ourselves for those responsibilities, and not expect that ignorance will avail us in that day; but a knowledge of true principle, of doctrine, of law, of the arts and sciences, as well as of the Gospel, will be urgently necessary to enable us to fulfil, to God’s glory and the renovation of the world, the responsibilities which we believe will, by right of our calling, at that time be most assuredly ours[.]
If the threats which are uttered and the war that is made against the Latter-day Saints were made against any other people they would become unsettled and discouraged. A session of Congress has not been held, and scarcely a President’s message been published for years, without some threatening and inimical action or words against the majority of the people of Utah. But we have had this kind of opposition in various forms to contend with from the beginning. We should scarcely have built a house, planted a tree, opened a farm or formed a settlement if we had allowed menaces or attacks to have deterred us. We have had to live by faith, as all the just must do. The present persecution should not be allowed to weaken us in our exertions to improve. We should live together in love; there should be union in every family circle, and harmony in every neighborhood and city. We should be cleanly in our persons, in our dress and in our habitations and surroundings. Industry should be habitual with the adults of our community, and the rising generation should be taught its lessons and be impressed with its value as a means of happiness. God has given us the earth as a dwelling place, and when mankind live as they should do, it is a delightful residence. It is our duty to adorn and beautify it—to make it so lovely and attractive that angels may condescend to visit it. We should, therefore, have fruitful farms, choice orchards, well arranged gardens, and if every dwelling is surrounded by flowers it will neither detract from its beauty in the eyes of visitors, nor make it less attractive as their home to the children of the household. In some quarters there has been ruinous neglect on the part of parents in making their homes attractive to their children. A well-ordered, lovely home, in which peace and good-will prevail, is a place of perpetual delight to those who reside there, whether old or young. Where such homes exist the young who live there are not found loafing at street corners or stores, or spending their time in gadding about from house to house and in improper company at late hours. Books and musical instruments are now so cheap as to be within the reach of the most humble. By furnishing means of instruction, amusement and enjoyment at home, parents can, by adding kind words and loving deeds, tie their children to them by bonds of affection that can never be broken; and in after years those children will think of that home as the brightest and dearest spot in their memories; in their minds it will always be surrounded by a heavenly halo.
The aim of every farmer, orchardist and gardener should be to produce the best grains, fruits and vegetables. So also with our stockmen; they should raise the best horses, horned stock and sheep; and those who pay attention to poultry should take pains and secure the best breeds. The trouble in raising the best qualities of grain, fruit and vegetables is no greater than in raising inferior articles of the same kind. A good colt, calf or lamb costs but little, if any, more to raise it than a poor one does—and then how much more valuable and saleable first class grain, fruits, vegetables and animals are than those which are inferior! The Lord has given us a land in which grains, fruits, vegetables and animals can be raised to the utmost perfection; and we should appreciate and take full advantage of our climate, soil and water. With exercise of good judgment, proper care and well applied industry, we can have the best productions of the vegetable and animal kingdoms at our disposal, and the poorest man in the land can have on his table such bread, fruits and vegetables as would be difficult, if not impossible, to find on the tables of the wealthy and noble of lands less favored than ours.
Our cities are generally well laid out. Our city lots are roomy. But we should provide for the increase of population. Sanitary regulations should be strictly enforced. Care should also be taken to secure plenty of unoccupied space for public grounds. They are as lungs for large and crowded cities; but it is in the early settlement and laying out of cities they can best be secured. Then land is cheap, settlers are not so numerous, and the struggle for eligible sites is not felt. That is the time to secure and lay out squares for public grounds; trees should be planted as quickly as possible, and be carefully protected, and, as population increases, the grounds should be made attractive. And in this connection permit us to call attention to the burial places of our dead. For a people whose reverence and labor for their dead are as great as ours, we are strangely neglectful of their last resting places. One reason for this is the scarcity of water, and the difficulty of getting it to the cemeteries. But this is no justification for the neglect shown in many places —the grounds left unfenced and uncared for, and cattle frequently allowed to roam at will over the tombs of the loved ones. Artesean wells in many localities are being bored with great success, and in many burial places water may yet be secured by this means for their adornment with trees, shrubs and flowers—a change which will be gladly welcomed by all.
In the construction of our residences, school rooms, meeting houses, tabernacles and other public buildings, there is room for the employment of the most cultivated and unlimited taste. With increase of facilities during the past few years, there is no longer any need for such structures as we formerly had to be content with. The principles of architecture should receive attention in all our settlements, and there is no good reason why convenience, a regard for health, and beauty should not go hand in hand in the erection of all our private and public buildings. The construction of our temples at St. George, Logan, Manti and Salt Lake City has furnished opportunities for many of our young men to obtain a knowledge of skilled branches of mechanism, the effects of which are visible in their own homes and the homes of their neighbors. And while we should impress upon the rising generation, as qualities of incalculable worth, that they should be pure in their morals, and have a high standard of honor, of truth, virtue and integrity, that they should be obedient to their parents and their God, and cherish a reverence for everything holy, be loyal to their country, and respect all constitutional laws; we should not neglect to instruct them in those branches of industry which will make them self-supporting, valuable citizens. All industrial pursuits should claim our attention, and we should endeavor to impart to our young people knowledge, skill and good management in farming, stock-raising, manufacturing, mechanism, trade, commerce and the arts and sciences. Give our young people an opportunity and they will excel as missionaries abroad and in every branch of skilled industry at home, and be behind none in the practice of the leading and useful professions. This they have demonstrated in every instance when they have gone out of the Territory to colleges and schools, and to receive technical instruction in the professions or branches of art.
As the world must yet know, the faith that was taught by the Lord Jesus to the Apostles, and by them to the world, and that brings forth the same fruits now as then, can only be extinguished in a pure people by their destruction. It is this faith that the Lord has restored to the earth, and that we possess. So long as men and women who receive it remain pure that faith will live and thrive and bring forth the fruits of righteousness. This every Latter-day Saint has proved. But faith should be cultivated. By cultivation it increases. The present is a time when the Latter-day Saints should devote themselves to their religion with all the ardor of their souls. They should so live as to enjoy the Holy Ghost and its gifts for themselves. These are needed by every man and woman to enable them to endure the trials which they have to meet.
At this point it may not be improper to again solemnly warn the officers and members of the Church against all conduct that tends to immorality and unchastity. We are being continually, though most falsely, accused of teaching and practicing sexual vice under the garb of religion. No charge could be more utterly false; for no system of philosophy, no code of ethics, no articles of religion since the world was first peopled ever taught more strictly and emphatically than does the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints the paramount necessity of personal purity in the relations of the sexes. Of this the Saints are well aware. Let us see to it, then, that our actions correspond with our faith; for we may rest assured that no prominence of position, no ties of family, no influence of wealth can save us from the penalty if we break the law of God in this regard. But a few weeks ago it became the sad duty of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles to sever from the communion of the Saints one of its members who had violated the law of chastity. He was a man of education, of experience, of judgment, of long standing in the Church, but neither these nor his exalted position in the Priesthood could save him from the penalty of the law he had so flagrantly broken. And as with him, so with all others. The law must be administered by the officers of the Church with justice and impartiality, with malice towards none, but with due regard to the commands of God and the honor of His holy name. Hear it, O house of Israel! ye who are seeking to attain to the Celestial Kingdom of our Father—none but the pure in heart can see God; none but those who have sanctified all their affections and passions by entire and complete subservience to His laws can dwell in His eternal presence! Let us also remember that the condition of a community, as a whole, depends upon the condition of the individuals composing it; as are its component parts, so is it in its entirety. If the individual members of a people are wise, just, intelligent, honest, honorable and pure, that community will be distinguished among its fellows by those peculiar virtues. To apply the lesson to ourselves, each one for himself, it is, if we wish to see the Church of Christ prepared as a bride for the Savior, we must, individually, live our religion and exemplify in our own lives those virtues which we know must adorn the bride before she can enter the presence of her Lord. This matter of personal purity, faith, diligence and good works is one that we cannot delegate to our neighbor, or place on the shoulders of other men and women; but each must do his own duty, each bear his own responsibilities, each set his own house in order, each magnify his calling, each live near unto God, if he expects God to draw nigh unto him.
We are pleased to be able to report that the Lord is abundantly blessing the labors of the brethren and sisters engaged in the performance of ordinances pertaining to the Temples of our God; and a great work is being done therein in the interest of both the living and the dead. We have been pained, however, to learn that in some few instances, either through misunderstanding, carelessness, or partiality, recommends have been given to unworthy persons. This is a grave error, —one that should be guarded against with every possible care. The Bishops and Presidents of Stakes should take every precaution that the House of the Lord is not defiled by the intrusion of the unworthy through their recommendation. We strongly advise more caution and greater care in this regard. To the Saints we say that those who desire the blessing of entering into and officiating in these houses dedicated to the Most High, should render themselves worthy thereof. They should live in harmony and peace at home, they should settle all their differences before attempting to enter this holy place, which should be a house of peace, a house of order. They should pray with their families morning and evening, and not neglect secret prayer; they should honestly pay their debts to all men, and not only to man, but remember also that which is due, as tithes and offerings, to the Giver of all. They should observe the Word of Wisdom in the spirit and meaning thereof, for it is most inconsistent to carry the smell of whiskey and tobacco into the sacred precincts of the Lord’s House. Or in a word, they should observe to do and to keep all God’s holy laws and commandments, that when they enter His House they can enjoy that spirit which gives zest, power and efficacy to their ministrations.
The reports from the Elders engaged in the active field of missionary labor are far from discouraging, though the results in baptisms in those lands where our brethren have labored the longest, will not equal the showing of former years. The annual number of baptisms, as well as the total membership of the Church, in Scandinavia, now exceeds those in Great Britain. But the most marked results of our labors, of late, have manifested themselves in New Zealand, amongst the Maories, the aborigines of those islands, who being a remnant of the house of Israel, nearly allied to the Sandwich Islanders, have received the Gospel with gladness, and show great firmness and integrity in cleaving to its truths.
In the present depressed state of business, and consequent lack of employment, the Bishops must not forget the duty which, as fathers of the people, they owe to the poor and inexperienced. None must be permitted to suffer. But we have learned long since that benevolence to be worthy of its name must be guided by reason as well as by sympathy; and aid should be given primarily with the view of doing real and lasting good to the recipients, and must be bestowed in a manner to discourage improvidence and the growth of a spirit of pauperism. Our aim should be to develop the powers of the worthy poor through that thoughtful help which will utilize the resources of the new-comer or unfortunate, and assist those who, if able, are willing to help themselves. In these [l]abors of love we trust the fullest cooperation and most perfect harmony will exist between the Ward authorities and the Relief Societies, that thereby they may mutually strengthen, and enhance the value of each others efforts. Nor must the families of the missionaries be forgotten; those whose whole time is spent in proclaiming the truths of the everlasting Gospel must not have reason to complain of want of consideration by their brethren and sisters. If the counsel heretofore given to the Presidents of Stakes and Bishops with regard to the establishment of missionary farms had been more widely carried out, we believe the results would have been more encouraging. Brethren, there is still time for action in this matter.
In these times, when many men, because of being faithful to religious convictions, are immured in prison, if proper precautions are not taken, there is danger of their families suffering on account of their absence. Great care should therefore be taken by the Presidents of Stakes, the Bishops of Wards, the Priests and Teachers, and by the people generally, to see that, in the absence of their natural guardians and protectors, they are protected in their persons and property. Where there is any lack of means, they should see that it is amply supplied; not in the shape of charity, but as a duty we owe to our brethren who are persecuted for conscience sake and who are immured in prison for their adherence and fidelity to their wives and families[.]
The so-called Christians are most egregiously ignorant of the relations of man and wife; and while they talk quite flippantly of the eternity of matter, they know nothing of the eternity of matter and spirit of which man and woman are composed, nor the eternity of the marital relation, nor the eternal covenants entered into between men and women, husbands and wives, parents and children. The acme of all their hopes in relation to matrimony and its continuance, as expressed in their covenants, is “until death do you part.” What a gloomy picture! What, nothing more? No; this is the general formula of all the churches, of all the millions of so-called Christians who dwell on this continent and the hundreds of millions of professed Christians throughout the world. What in this case becomes of all our hopes of eternal life, eternal exaltations in the mansions of the just? Does God indeed “join them together,” as they say; and then does death divide them and sever the covenant? No, indeed; they make no such covenant, and therefore cannot break it. Their covenant is until death does them part—no further, no more. When this is accomplished all is ended in regard to their matrimonial relations. What of the resurrection from the dead? What of the New Jerusalem—the celestial glory— the eternal union that the authors of fiction write about? To them, as to the professed Christians, it is all fiction—a beautiful dream which death dissolves. We have other views, other ideas, other hopes. We believe in death being swallowed up in victory, in “a new heaven and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness;” in the resurrection of the just, both men and women, parents and children. Our Gospel, “The Gospel of the Son of God, brings life and immortality to light.” We believe in Jerusalems, such as the one which John saw when banished as a slave to the Isle of Patmos because of his religion, where the promises made to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob are to be fulfilled; “which had a wall great and high, and had twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels”—“and the twelve gates were twelve pearls; every several gate was one pearl.” Its walls were of jasper, its streets and the city were pure gold. The foundations of the wall were garnished with all manner of precious stones, and the glory of God did lighten it, “and the Lamb is the light thereof.” Its pearly gates had written upon them the names of the twelve tribes of the children of Israel and the foundations of its walls, “the names of the Twelve Apostles of the Lamb.” “The throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it, and His servants shall serve Him; and they shall see His face; and His name shall be in their foreheads. The porters of its gates were angels and its light the glory of God.”
What was written on those pearly gates? The names of the twelve tribes of Israel. Who was Israel? Jacob. From whom did the twelve tribes descend? From Jacob. What were their names? The names of the sons of Jacob, which he had by four wives. Jacob, then, was a polygamist? Yes; he was one of those barbarians of which the Judge of the Third Judicial District says: “These practices might have been proper in a barbarous and primitive time—in crude times—but they won’t do now. Civilization has thrown them away. It won’t do to gather up these old customs and practices out of the by-gone barbarism and by-gone ages, and attempt to palm them upon a free and intelligent and civilized people in these days.”
How free the people are in Utah today needs no discussion. If the judge cannot stand these things it would seem God and the Lamb can, for He is the light of the city on the gates of which are written the names of twelve men, the sons of one man, by four women—a polygamist. Had Jacob lived now, the judges would have sent spies, spotters and deputy marshals after him, and if caught would have sent him to the penitentiary with other honorable men who had the courage of their convictions, and for whom “God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared for them a city.”
And what of his handmaids; will they be there? Yes: where there is so much beauty and glory and so many of his servants the women are sure not to be absent. Besides are they not one? Has not “God joined them together?” It would not be a heaven without them; they have entered into covenants with the men for time and eternity in the Lord; “They twain are one flesh.” “The man is not without the woman nor the woman without the man;” but the corrupt have no place therein. For without are dogs and sorcerers and whoremongers and murderers and idolators and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie.
Speaking of the sexes, the same God who created Adam, created Eve, “male and female created He them; and blessed them and called their name Adam.” Who are women? The mothers of the whole human family. They were all born of women, who were created and prepared as companions and helpmeets for man. To Eve God gave another seed in the place of Abel. “For God said, He hath appointed me another seed instead of Abel whom Cain slew.” Who made this appointment? God. From whom came kings, emperors, prophets, seers and revelators? They came through women who were often Prophets themselves, and who were frequently ministered to by angels. Jesus was born of a woman; they were His companions on earth, were with Him at His death, and were first at His sepulcher, and will be His and His saints’ companions in heaven.
Polygamy is not understood nor our relations thereto. There is nothing secret about it. When it was first proclaimed in Salt Lake City, in 1852, Elder Orson Pratt went shortly after to the city of Washington and published it to the world in a paper called The Seer; after that, President Brigham Young, who was a known polygamist, was reappointed, by the President, Governor of the Territory of Utah.
It is alleged that we are in danger of perverting the nation’s morals. But how much danger there is of this may be judged by the morality of those in our midst who endeavor to make us believe they represent the government and nation, as exhibited in the following:
Criminal Statistics of Salt Lake City for the Year 1885:
Total estimated population,
Or 5 Mormons to 1 non-Mormon.
There were during the year, 1,276 arrests.
Boys under 10 years old
The 20,800 Mormons produce arrests,
The 5,200 non-Mormons, ″ ″
or 1 to 121/8.
There are now in the city some 6 Brothels, 40 Tap Rooms, a number of Gambling Houses, Pool Tables and other disreputable concerns, all run by non-Mormons.
But for the presence of those who are constantly making war upon us our city would be free from the contaminating influences of houses of prostitution, gambling houses, dram shops and other such death-dealing concerns, and the taxes would be greatly reduced. But, as it is, the “Mormons” are forced to pay a liberal tax in support of the laws against the lawlessness of their non-tax paying enemies. Every other town, city and county in the Territory, and all the jails and the Utah penitentiary, show even a much cleaner record in favor of the “Mormons” than the foregoing exhibit portrays.
If it should be said that these convictions were made by “Mormon” judges and justices, it must also be remembered that the District Court always stands open and gladly extends relief to any who consider themselves wronged by “Mormon” officers.
It is a remarkable fact that in all these years since the introduction of polygamy among us, not one Gentile has ever entered into it through our agency; those who are corrupt have easier methods which are furnished and approved by the professed Christian world. These are not, ‘Mormon” institutions; but the practical outgrowth of monogamy. The question arises, if in thirty-four years not one Gentile has adopted polygamy, how many years will it take to demoralize the fifty-five millions of the United States? The fact is, our Elders could not thus introduce it if they would, and any one so doing would be immediately severed from the Church.
The question arises, What shall we do? Shall we, because of the inconsiderate action of Congress, of the judiciary and of other Federal officers, array ourselves against the nation, and sacrifice our loyalty to the greatest nation which is now in existence? Certainly not. Joseph Smith told us that “the Constitution of the United States was given by inspiration of God.” Is it less true to-day than it was then? What shall we do? Have they passed “test oaths.” which are forbidden in that Constitution? Yes. Have they not “prohibited the free exercise of” our “religion?” Yes. Have they not passed ex post facto laws? Yes. It is not only said that no ex post facto law shall be passed, but also no “law impairing the obligation of contracts.” Some thousands of people in this Territory have entered into sacred contracts for time and for all eternity; Congress has passed a law making this a crime, and many men, who will not violate their contracts, are in prison to-day for a violation of the law of Congress which is ex post facto, making that a crime which was not a crime when the law was passed. This, then, is another violation of the Constitution. What about the “religious test oaths” instituted in Idaho, Arizona and in certain forms in Utah? What about the 4th amendment to the Constitution, which says: “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated; and no warrant shall issue but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized?”
In article 8 of the Constitution it is stated, “Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.” In George Q. Cannon’s case lately, in an offense for which the law provides $300 fine and six months imprisonment, a bail of $25,000.00 and an additional $20,000.00 for two complaints which were not at the time supported by any evidence, was required: thus he was made subject to a $45,000.00 bond. Is this excessive bail? If so, it is a violation of the Constitution. Thus we have six different violations of the Constitution of the United States, sanctioned, approved or winked at by those who have sworn to sustain that charter of liberty.
These are no fictions, but veritable facts that we have had to meet and put up with. But because of this misrule and perversion of the Constitution, and of the rights of American citizens shall we be inimical to that Constitution or to the institutions of the country to which we owe allegiance? Certainly not. These errors have to be corrected, and it is our duty, so far as lays in our power, as it is the duty of all honorable men in these United States, to sustain the Constitution thereof and to oppose in all legitimate ways any infringement of that instrument.
We are inconsiderately asked to rend our family relations and throw away our ideas of human freedom, political equality and the rights of man, and “to become like them.” Be like them for what? Like them in sapping the foundations of human liberty, like them in violating our constitutional oaths, like them in covenanting with wives and children till death parts them, and no more but a dead blank? What does it mean to be like them? It means that E pluribus unum is a fiction; it means that we tamper with and violate that grand palladium of human liberty, the Constitution of the United States and substitute expediency, anarchy, fanaticism, intolerance and religious bigotry for those glorious fundamental principles of liberty, equality, brotherhood, human freedom and the rights of man. It means judicial corruption, perverted justice[,] missionary judges, class rulings and minority representation; it means judicial tyranny and oppression, the introduction of spies and spotters, of packed juries and intolerance, of prisons, chains and terrorism; and introduces cruelty, oppression and despotism, in the place of liberty, equality and brotherhood. We cannot do it. We will rally around the flag of our country and maintain the glorious Constitution for weal or woe. We cannot and will not lay aside our fealty to the nation at the bidding of political demagogues, religious fanatics or intolerant despots.
To you, Brethren, who as Presidents of Stakes, High Councilors and Bishops, hold in your keeping the purity of the lives of the members of the Church, we again repeat the warnings and admonitions of our former epistles and say, upon you lays the responsibility of the keeping of God’s house in order, each according to his calling, ordination and appointment, and to the extent and scope of the duties imposed upon him. In these duties you cannot be negligent without incurring the displeasure of the Lord and losing His Spirit. The Lord holds each man responsible for that portion of the flock which is placed in his care. The Relief Societies, the Young Men and Young Women’s Mutual Improvement Associations, the Sunday Schools, and the Primary Associations should all receive your hearty encouragement and support. Each of these organizations can be of great benefit to all of you in your labors. All of these Presidents are or should be subject to the authorities of the Wards and Stakes where they reside.
It devolves upon the Twelve Apostles and the Seventies to see that the Gospel is carried, and to carry it themselves, to all the nations of the earth— first unto the Gentiles and then to the Jews. This is their especial calling, and they should keep it constantly before them.
Like the First Presidency, the most of the members of the Council of the Twelve Apostles, have been greatly restricted in their movements. One of their number, Elder Lorenzo Snow is in prison. He bears his imprisonment with equanimity and fortitude; and so far as we know all of the Apostles feel cheerful and full of faith, and determined to magnify their calling.
Our latest advices from President Joseph F. Smith report him as enjoying good health and to a goodly degree the spirit of his office and calling. From his letter, recently published in the Deseret News, the Saints have learned his sentiments concerning the work of God and the present situation of affairs.
In conclusion, we say to all the officers and members of the Church, be diligent in reading the word of God, contained in the Bible, the Book of Mormon and the Doctrine and Covenants; search the prophecies and let your hearts be comforted by their precious promises. God has said concerning Zion, that “no weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper; and every tongue that shall rise against thee in judgment thou shalt condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, and their righteousness is of me said the Lord.”
Our history is one continued illustration of the fulfillment of this word of our God. We can truthfully ask, where is the weapon that has been formed against Zion which has prospered? or where is the tongue that has risen against Zion in judgment which has not been condemned? Her enemies have been very numerous; in many instances they have been prominent and powerful. They have strutted their brief hour upon the stage and have thought they were performing doughty deeds; but where are they? If their names were not kept in remembrance in our history, as enemies of the work of God, the most of them would be as utterly forgotten by the world as if they had never lived. But Zion will prosper and prevail. There may be storms to be endured; there may be trials to be encountered and difficulties to be overcome; and there may be seasons when clouds of darkness may envelop us and shut out the horizon from our view; yet if we humble ourselves before our God and keep the covenants we have made with Him, He will neither desert nor neglect us.
The Lord has said, through one of His prophets, “Hear, ye that are afar off, what I have done; and, ye that are near, acknowledge my might. The sinners in Zion are afraid; fearfulness hath surprised the hypocrites. Who among us shall dwell with the devouring fire? Who among us shall dwell with everlasting burnings? He that walketh righteously and speaketh uprightly; he that despiseth the gain of oppressions, that shaketh his hands from the holding of bribes, that stoppeth his ears from hearing of blood, and shutteth his eyes from seeing evil. He shall dwell on high; his place of defense shall be the munitions of rocks; bread shall be given him; his waters shall be sure.”
These are the kind of people we should be; for it is such people who will build up and be counted worthy to stand in Zion. Then it can truthfully be said: “That the Lord hath founded Zion, and the poor of his people shall trust in it.”
Be it our lot to live as Saints, to maintain every principle of virtue, of honor, of truth and integrity, to keep sacred the covenants we have made with God and with each other, and to obey in all things the word of the Lord. So shall we and our families be blessed of the Lord in time and throughout the eternities that are to come.
God bless you and all the friends of Zion with peace and happiness in this world and, in the world to come, with life everlasting, in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.
Your brethren in the Lord,
George Q. Cannon.
Of the First Presidency of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
5 April 1886 • Monday
Monday, April 5/86 Attended to correspondence as usual. I dictated also a certificate which President Taylor and myself signed for Elder Brigham Young to carry with him <on his Mission South> to show to whom it might concern, the object of his mission and asking them to assist him in its performance.
6 April 1886 • Tuesday
Tuesday, April 6/86 This is the fifty sixth anniversary of the organization of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and Conference is being held at Provo City, at which comparatively few of the general Authorities are able to be present, because of the persecution of our enemies and their determination to seize every prominent man, against whom they can get the least pretext. President Taylor and myself and Bro. Joseph F. Smith—the first Presidency of the Church—are compelled to conceal ourselves to avoid the implacable anger of our enemies, the Federal Officials and Representatives of the general Government in this Territory. Br. Woodruff is also concealed near this City; Br. Lorenzo Snow is in the Penitentiary; Bro. Erastus Snow is in Mexico; Bro B. Young has to conceal himself to avoid arrest, also Elders M. Thatcher and F. M. Lyman; and Elder George Teasdale is in Mexico, whither he had to flee to avoid arrest and a threathened long imprisonment. This leaves only four of the Twelve free to attend Conference, Elders F. D. Richards, John H. Smith, Heber J. Grant and John W. Taylor; of their two Counselors John W. Young is in the east and Bro. Daniel H. Wells is presiding over the European Mission; they also would doubtless be arrested if they were in reach. Of the first seven Presidents of the Seventies my son Abraham H Cannon is in the Penitentiary. Many of the Presidents of Stakes and Bishops and the Counselors of each are also compelled to secrete themselves to escape the wrath of the wicked. The Conference is excellently attended and good instruction is given and a good spirit prevails. The Epistle was read to day, occupying the greater portion of the morning and afternoon.
7 April 1886 • Wednesday
Wednesday, April 7/86 Attended to business and correspondence as usual. Dictated Editorial Thoughts and Topics of the Times for the Juvenile Instructor to Bro. Wilcken. He also called to see my family and had interviews with them. He brought me good news concerning their condition and their feelings. They are all well, and were greatly pleased to see him. A dispatch was received to-day informing us that Caleb W. West of Cynthiana, Kentucky, had been appointed Governor of Utah.
8 April 1886 • Thursday
Thursday, April 8/86. Attended to the usual business. George Ticknor Curtis, who is a distinguished author and lawyer, was employed to day as Counsel in the appeal case of Bro. Lorenzo Snow before the U. S. Supreme Court.
9 April 1886 • Friday
Friday, April 9/86 I was greatly pleased this morning to receive a letter from each of my children— Mary Alice, Emily and Sylvester. I thought the letters of the two last are rather remarkable productions for children of their age, Sylvester being eight years old and Emily ten. Mary Alice’s letter was very well written, and touched me deeply especially in describing her feelings when she thought of their situation, their Mother dead, their Father in the peculiar condition in which I am placed, and they deprived of my society, and their brother Abraham a prisoner in the Penitentiary.
It was decided to-day to have ten thousand copies of the Epistle printed in pamphlet form for general distribution, and from five hundred to a thousand in better style to be sent to all public men in Washington and elsewhere. I did not eat my breakfast to day not feeling very well.
Ua hoole aku au I ka ai I keia la [I fasted today].
10 April 1886 • Saturday
Saturday, April 10/86 Engaged as usual in listening to and dictating correspondence and attending to other business. Bro. John T. Caine telegraphed to know whether he and friends should work for an act of Congress, calling a special session of the Legislative Assembly to pass the Appropriation Bill if it should be made an administration measure. He evidently fears adverse legislation being tacked on to it. We replied that if it should be made an administration measure to work for it and to do everything possible against adverse legislation. I wrote a letter to Bro John Irvine to day at Washington.
11 April 1886 • Sunday
Sunday, April 11/86 Held meeting; Bro. W. L. White presided. Bros. Wilcken,
Bateman, Burrell, Nuttall and myself and President Taylor and Bro. W. White spoke. President Taylor moved that Joseph Parley White should be ordained an Elder, which was voted for unanimously, all who held the Melchisedec priesthood joined in laying hands upon him and I was mouth in ordaining him.
12 April 1886 • Monday
Monday, April 12/86. Dictated Journal to Br Wilcken and dictated correspondence to Br. Nuttall. I make the following extract from a letter written by Bro. John T. Caine, now in Washington, to President Taylor.
“The failure of President Cannon to appear created some little excitement at the time, but this has died down, and the feeling now appears to be that men in authority—outside of course, of the immediate members of the Administration are glad that he got away. A prominent Senator and several members of Congress have recently expressed themselves in this way. We do not now think that his course will be attended with any unfavorable consequences to our cause in general. We hope that he is now beyond the reach of his enemies and that he will not again place himself in their power.”
Brothers John Sharp and Feramorz Little went to the Court to day and paid twenty-five thousand dollars, the amount of the bond which they had given that I would appear in Court to answer the charge made against me of unlawful cohabitation. They have refused to contest the payment of this. In this connection the following copy of a letter may be interesting.
“Interview between Bros. H. S. Eldredge, F. Little and John Sharp.
“I said I wished to speak to them when they were at liberty and I was asked to come into the room at the Bank of the D. N. Bank. H. S. Eldredge, F. Little, John Sharp and James Sharp were present. I said that I wished to speak to them about the bonds of Bro. Geo. Q. Cannon and advised them not to pay such outrageous bonds and that if they done so it ought to be and believed it would be at their own risk. They wanted to know who sent me and I said you may know I am not far out in these matters, and they would have to guess at that; I shall not say anything about that. The brethren all talked and all agreed that they had put their names to that bond and unless they paid it their honor was at stake. I said they should fight it because such outrageous bonds were not lawful and I was not able to show them anything; they knew it all and were determined to pay them on the 12th of April. I said if they could place me in their position I would fight it clear to the U. S. Supreme Court. John Sharp said he would give me a check and also F. Little said the same for one thousand dollars each if I would go to Dickson and get them released from the bonds. I said I did not come to make money of them and could not do it as I did not have property to do so. They all agreed to abide the decision of the lawyers and asked me to go and see B. Sheeks. I went and saw Sheeks and asked him if there would be anything wrong if a person refused to pay a bond or if a person could do so and let the Court sue for it. There would be nothing wrong and he mentioned Bro. Cannon’s case, and said the bonds in his case was a damned outrage. I then went back to the brethren to report and they agreed to meet the next morning and have the lawyers with them and at half past ten oClock I went over to the Bank and found H. S. Eldredge, F. Little, John Sharp, James Sharp and John Sharp, Jnr., Ben Sheeks and Le Grande Young. I talked about the same as I did the day before, and asked the lawyers if any harm could come to these bondsmen by refusing to pay such outrageous bonds by fighting the case; and they said no; only in their opinion it would cost more and finally have to be settled. I said I would fight them anyway, and if they could place the money in the Bank to my name and get released I would fight them clear to the end. F. Little said yes; I know you are on the fight, and said that I and some others were liable to bring trouble here. I said you can’t prove that I do anything only what is legal and right. Bro. Eldredge asked me what I supposed could be gained by fighting. I said perhaps it would expose to the world the outrageous doings of the Court and the Officials here as it would be published and expose them. Br. Eldredge used the word dam it but I can’t just remember how he got it in and said he thought there had been exposure enough of Bro. Cannon’s trying to escape and being caught in Nevada and then trying to bribe the Officers and then jumping the train, and seemed very angry when he said this; but said: “now I don’t want to be understood to say anything disrespectful of Bro. Cannon.” James Sharp also encouraged the brethren to pay the bonds and not to fight as it would cost more money, and finally it would have to be paid. So I could see that I could not make any impression at all and I got up and wished them good morning. After I had got back to my shop Le Grande Young came in and said I was right in regard to fighting the bonds, and thought it would be strictly legal and right to do so if they wanted to fight[.] I remember that Young said over in the Bank that he would enter a demurrer if the brethren wanted him to do so; and John Sharp thought that if any lawyer presented such a document to the Court he thought he would be disbarred.”
C. H. Crow.”
On Monday, April 12th, 1886, I had some conversation with President Taylor upon the letter of Bro. Crow’s which appears on page 9. I thought it might be well to write to Bro. Le Grand Young and inform him that Bro. Crow had talked as he had to the Sureties in my case without any authority from us. My reason for suggesting <this> was that I had heard from two or three sources that the Sureties were angry at his talk and threats and thought he had been sent by President Taylor or myself or by both. President Taylor thought we had better not notice this, that the less there was said about the matter the better it would be, and we decided not to write anything to any one about it. The conversation then led to the Bonds which had been given for me, and he spoke about Bro. Beck’s management of the Mine and the poor prospect there was at present of selling it, and realizing anything from it for the three-fifths of the property which we had agreed to set aside as a Fund to be at the unreserved control of President Taylor to be used by him as he saw proper under the direction of the Lord. It was from this Fund that the Lord had revealed to him he could pay these Bonds. But at present there is no prospect of a sale, and until there is a sale there is no Fund available.
Now this had been fully canvassed by President Taylor before several of the Twelve Apostles on the evenings of the 2nd and 5th of March[.] [note in margin: <I have fastened them in these pages>] (I have copied the minutes of these meetings on loose sheets from Bro. L. John Nuttall’s notes and placed them in my journal at the former date[.]) [See 2 and 5 March 1886] And, as I thought, an arrangement had then been made as to how the Bonds should be paid, in view of this Fund which President Taylor had at his exclusive and entire control to back it. The Lord, through His Holy Spirit, had impressed me with the feeling that President Taylor did not have it in his mind at present to do anything about satisfying or protecting my Sureties for paying the Bonds. This feeling had been growing upon me for some days, and it was on this account that I had fasted and prayed on <last> Friday, April 9th. He spoke now in such a way that I was convinced of the correctness of my impressions; but that I might know his intentions and what to depend upon, I said to him, when he spoke of the Fund not being available to pay the Sureties: “But, you know, the Twelve voted to authorize you as Trustee-in-Trust to loan the amount necessary to meet the amount of these Bonds until something could be realized by the sale of the Mining prop[erty] for the Fund you have at your control.”
At this remark of mine he expressed the utmost surprise and denied that anything of the kind had been done. I repeated that at a meeting at which he and I were present such consent had been given.
He asked when and where the meeting had been held? Was I present? Who of the Apostles were there? Did I make the proposition?
I told him the time and place of the meeting; that there were four of the Twelve—B. Young, F. M. Lyman, H. J. Grant and J. W. Taylor—and Elders Franklin S. Richards and L. John Nuttall present at the meeting, and that I, myself, was there; that I did not make the proposition; but that he had made it, and it was his own suggestion; that at no time had I asked how these Bonds were to be paid or made any suggestion or gave any hint upon the subject.
He again denied there being any such arrangement made as I described.
I replied there certainly had been, and Bro. Nuttall took the minutes, and if he referred to him he doubtless <could> give him all the particulars.
He then asked me further what the nature of the action had been.
I explained to him concerning his proposal to borrow Z. C. M. I. stock and to pay it to the Sureties.
This, I think, brought some recollections to his memory; for he no longer denied the meeting or that any thing of the kind had taken place; but said respecting Z. C. M. I. stock that it was in jeopardy at the time and that it could be used in making the sureties good without loss to the Church; that, however, had since been sold for the cash and was no longer in his hands as Trustee-in-Trust; besides, there were only four of the Twelve present (not a quorum) and they could not be responsible with him as Trustee-in-Trust. He had <to> account for all the funds that came into his hands and that capacity and not the Twelve; that if the Commissioners contemplated by the Edmunds Bill were to be appointed and come on he would be held accountable, and he, therefore, could not let any Funds go to pay these Bonds without incurring responsibility therefor.
I did not attempt to argue with him respecting the business, or to show that, as Trustee-in-Trust, he would be no more accountable for the cash the stock was sold for than he would be for the stock itself. The fact is, though I was prepared, through the Spirit of the Lord, for his refusal to advance funds to pay the Bonds, I was nevertheless almost shocked at his denial of all recollection of the proposition he, himself, had made to make the Sureties good, so that they should not suffer. I did not even remind him of his great desire that Bro. Franklin S. Richards should draw up an instrument for the majority of the First Presidency and Twelve to sign approving of and authorizing the use of funds by the Trustee-in-Trust for the securing of the Sureties, or that at our meeting on the 5th of March a quorum of the First Presidency and Twelve were present and that all that had been done at the meeting of the second of March had been heartily approved of. I thought it was useless to multiply my words, so I did not say anything about the document both quorums were to sign, or the <verbal> endorsement of the proposition by a majority of both quorums at our second meeting.
Of course I was almost astounded at his remarks, but I did not say very much; I thought it better to not make many remarks.
He asked if I thought that he should make payment to the Sureties and take that responsibility.
I replied that I supposed that the decision which had been made and all that had been proposed was bona fide. Yet at the same time, though I had said nothing of the kind, I had felt that I did not wish the Church or any one else to bear any burden for me that I could carry myself. I certainly did not want him as Trustee-in-Trust to put himself in an unpleasant position or to do anything that would increase his responsibility on my account.
He spoke of the awkward position we were placed in by Bro. Beck’s disinclination to sell, so that we were prevented from disposing of our stock.
In this connection I said that whatever the rest did I should have to sell, unless he (Pres. T.) should forbid my doing so.
This did not appear to suit him; and he said I ought not get excited about matters and should not be in a hurry to dispose of this stock.
I did not think I had been excited, on the contrary I thought I had been very cool in view of all the circumstances and these Sureties having to pay this money for me.
The foregoing is, in brief, a statement of the conversation we had upon this subject, and I went to my own room with feelings I cannot describe. It is evident that President Taylor does not think it right to use any funds to reimburse my Sureties. The Fund from which he has spoken of paying them is not in existence yet, and who can tell when it will be. The prospects at present are far from encouraging. In the meantime the sureties are out of their money. President Taylor intimated that they should not be paid for the present, (I suppose in consequence of their having refused to contest the payment) and asked me if I did not think so. I replied No; that if I had the money I would pay them, for I did not like to be in bondage.
As to the Church paying these Sureties it was neither my wish nor expectation. I had proposed no plan and had formed none respecting these Bonds. When President Taylor told me concerning the manifestation he had as to how they should be paid, and afterwards suggested that as the Fund was not yet available the means should be borrowed, I accepted his views without a question; I left everything to him, and supposed the arrangement had been completed.
When our conversation ended I went to the Lord and unbosomed myself. He gave me relief and lifted the load from me and gave me peace and comfort. I felt that it will be all right. What a blessed thing it is to have the Lord for a friend! I thought of what has been said about those who put their trust in man and make flesh their arm. The best of men have their faults and weaknesses; they are fallible and full of human frailties and give disappointment; but not so with the Lord. His word never fails. He is unchangeable and possesses every attribute to make him God. I know President Taylor is his chosen servant to preside over his Church and to be his mouthpiece to the people. But he is a man and has man’s nature, and he can be forgetful as in this instance. He told me in our conversation that his memory is not good in some respects. I do not have any feeling respecting him excepting love and kindness. I feel to pray more and more for him and for myself. I wish him to do nothing that he does not feel clear about doing. But I pray the Lord to bless me and open my way to raise this means; for I feel that these brethren who came to my relief as Sureties should not be left to suffer if I can prevent it.
Bro. W. White our host had spoken several times about having his house, which is an elegant residence in which they commenced to reside in last October, dedicated to the Lord. He decided to attend to this this evening. All his family were present, including his son John Henry and his wife and two little children, President Taylor, myself, Bros. Nuttall, Wilcken, Bateman and Barrell. We assembled for this purpose in the dining room, the hymn was sung “This earth was once a garden place.” President Taylor made some introductory remarks and I was called upon to offer the prayer. I felt exceedingly well in doing so and had a goodly portion of the Spirit of the Lord, which I believe also rested down upon all present. We spent the evening very pleasantly in social converse and listening to the young people sing. The news reached to day from Washington that the nomination of Judge O. F. Powers, which President Cleveland had sent to the Senate for confirmation, had been withdrawn by him. This is due to the exposure which has been made of Power’s corrupt conduct before being appointed. President Cleveland also sent the name of Frank H. Dyer as Marshal of Utah Territory to the Senate for confirmation.
13 April 1886 • Tuesday
Tuesday, April 13/86 Busily engaged in answering correspondence & etc to day.
14 April 1886 • Wednesday
Wednesday, April 14/86 The same as yesterday
15 April 1886 • Thursday
Thursday, April 15, 86 Listening to and answering correspondence. A letter was received from Bro. Joseph A. West from Washington in which he gave us a description of his labors, which we think quite satisfactory.
16 April 1886 • Friday
Friday, April 16/86 Attended to correspondence as usual. A dispatch was received from Bro. Caine at Washington, stating that two vicious articles had been published in the National Republican of Washington from Kate Field and that heavy pressure was applied to keep its columns open to our enemies; but for eight or ten hundred dollars unfriendly articles can be kept from appearing and favorable dispatches and articles can be published for the balance of the session of Congress, and perhaps for the year. It was decided to say to him, to make the best arrangement he could. Brother Erastus Snow writes from Casas Grande, Chihuahua, respecting the condition of the land for which Br. McDonald had gone to the City of Mexico to purchase. It was this transaction that President Taylor wished me to go to Mexico about in company with Bro. Snow. When Bro. Snow reached there, however, Bro. McDonald had bought the land and the deeds had been made out in his name. Bro. Snow found himself under the necessity of paying for the land out of the money he had with him, or if he did not Bro. McDonald could have been punished. <for not keeping his contract.> Bro. E. Snow left the City of Mexico for Chihuahua and after his arrival there wrote us upon the subject of the land. He had examined it, was highly pleased with it and thought it a great bargin. Afterwards when they applied the Compass and the Chain to the land it was ascertained that the deed did not cover the land they intended to buy. A part of the townsite and farming and grazing lands and a part of the creek were all outside of the lines of the land deeded to them. It seems that Bro. McDonald had made a mistake in defining the boundaries. I went out this evening with Bro. Wilcken to my son John Q’s residence, as I wished to converse with him about business matters. I spent upwards of an hour with him and felt much pleased with my visit. I did not wish any of his household to know that I was there, so he brought me out his little daughter, which he had called Margaret after his grandmother Hoagland. She is a beautiful babe and this is the first time she has been out of her mother’s bedroom. Annie herself is yet confined to her bed.
17 April 1886 • Saturday
Saturday, April 17/86 Attended to correspondence as usual and dictated “Topics of the Times” to Bro. C. H. Wilcken.
18 April 1886 • Sunday
Sunday, April 18/86 We held our meeting as usual to day, Bro. S. Bateman in charge. Elders Nuttall and Wilcken administered the sacrament and Bro. Bateman, W. White and his sons John H. and David and Bros Nuttall, Wilcken and myself and President Taylor all spoke. Our meeting was quite interesting.
19 April 1886 • Monday
Monday, April 19/86 This is my son John Q’s birthday; he is twenty nine years old to day. I attended to correspondence as usual and dictated the following petition to be signed by our citizens. Bro. Musser inserted a few words, which are in brackets, respecting taxes, the rest of it was my writing.
To the Honorable the Senate and House of Representatives in Congress Assembled:5
Your petitioners, citizens of Utah Territory, who, through long years of toil, have conquered the wilderness and converted it into fruitful farms, orchards and gardens, and laid the foundation of a flourishing commonwealth, humbly represent to you that they understand agents have gone from this Territory, sent by a minority of our fellow citizens to the seat of government, to use their influence with your Honorable Bodies, to obtain legislation which will deprive us, by disfranchising us through test oaths, of all voice in the government of this country, or failing in this, to urge the passage of a law which would abolish our Legislature, and create for the government of the Territory a Legislative Commission.
In the most earnest and emphatic manner we protest against the enactment of these or any similar measures, for the following reasons:
1st. We are Americans citizens, entitled by the guaranties of the Constitution to all the rights and privileges which that status implies.
2d. We have shown by the most abundant and convincing proofs that we are capable of self-government, and that in its exercise thus far we have not forfeited the right to its continuance.
3d. The Territory of Utah has been organized upwards of thirty-five years, and during that period if any citizen has imagined he has had cause to complain against the rule of the majority, the Federal courts, whose judges and other officers have been appointees of the Federal government, have always been open to redress any grievance or to correct any wrong.
4th. That the total Territorial, county and school taxes amount to twelve mills on the dollar per annum only, on a moderate valuation of property; and the tax for municipal purposes in Salt Lake City, which is the principal city in the Territory, is only five mills on the dollar.
5th. That the government or the Territory and all its affairs have been conducted in a judicious and economical manner is plainly evident from the lightness of the Territorial tax, being only three mills on the dollar, and the fact that, though a new country with constant demands for the expenditure of funds for making improvements of every kind for the thirty-nine years of its settlement, the Territory does not owe one dollar of public debt. The counties and the municipalities are in the same condition, with the exception of Salt Lake City, which, by action of the Legislature, was permitted to incur a debt of two hundred and fifty thousand dollars for the construction of a canal, over twenty-five miles in length, the object being to bring the waters of Utah Lake into Salt Lake City for irrigating purposes, and which debt is now being steadily liquidated.
6th. That while the citizens of the Territory who form the majority party are being accused of all kinds of crime and wrong-doing, and for that reason are declared by the minority party to be unfit for citizenship, the facts are that in Salt Lake City for the year 1885 the proportion of the arrests and convictions for crime were twelve and one-half per cent of the minority to one per cent of the majority, and yet the majority outnumber the minority as five to one. And in that city, with the exception of one drinking saloon, the tap-rooms, brothels, gambling houses, pool tables and other disreputable concerns are all conducted by members of the minority party.
7th. That in making this statement and comparison we are not prompted by any desire to extol the morality of those who compose the majority of the Territory, but to defend ourselves against the many slanders which are circulated concerning us, and by this contrast to show that the assumptions of superior morality, probity and other qualities claimed by the minority as reasons why they should be entrusted with the control of the Territory, are not founded in truth.
8th. That the object of the leaders of the minority party is not to have good, cheap and orderly government in the Territory; but to get control of its finances, and to reduce the majority of the people to the condition of serfs—with no right to vote, to hold office, or to have voice in the affairs of government—only to be taxed and oppressed by the minority, to any extent they may choose, without hope of relief or power to protest.
9th. That confident of the falsity of the charges which have been made against the majority party of this Territory, we challenge the comparison of its condition in education, good order, morality, low taxes, (mines and their output are entirely free from taxation) economical administration of all its local branches of government, and in every thing else which constitutes the strength and prosperity of a State, or which can be claimed as an evidence of good and safe republican government, with any of our neighboring States and Territories.
For these reasons we respectfully ask your Honorable Bodies to reject all propositions for the the disfranchisement of the law-abiding citizens of this Territory, or for the abolition of the Legislative Assembly and the creation of a Legislative Commission, as unworthy or your Honorable Bodies and the day of enlightenment in which we live; and instead of curtailing our rights as citizens, we beg of you to enlarge them, and place us upon the same footing as citizens elsewhere. In no part of the Republic does a governor have the absolute and unqualified veto over all legislation, except in Utah. Take from this officer this power, and give to the Legislative Assembly here the rights which every other legislative body in the land possesses. Through long years of patient endurance of this and other wrongs, we have shown our fidelity to the government of our country, and we ask you now to treat us with the fairness which this conduct merits; treat us as the loyal citizens that we are, and not as enemies of the Republic, and we will show you and the nation that we are not insensible to kindness and impartial treatment, and Utah will march forward on such a career of progress and prosperity as will amply vindicate the wisdom of your action, and furnish a brilliant testimony of the great truth— that American citizens can be safely entrusted with the power to govern themselves.
And your petitioners will ever pray.6
20 April 1886 • Tuesday
Tuesday, April 20/86 Attended to correspondence and was very busy. An interesting letter, containing many suggestions, was received from Mr. A. M. Gibson at Washington, who is employed by us to look after our affairs there. He suggests a plan for obtaining names of leading constituents in every congressional district of the United States to whom documents can be sent, expressly the “Women’s Memorial,” which he thinks a most exellent document and one that would do great good. The names of the constituents can be got with a little management and a little expense from the various members. A dispatch was sent to Br. Caine informing him that we had just received Mr. Gibson’s plan of destributing the Memorial and approved of it and to have printed what ever number was needed. Dictated article for Juvenile Instructor to day to Br. Wilcken.
21 April 1886 • Wednesday
Wednesday, April 21/86 Listened to and answered correspondence.
22 April 1886 • Thursday
Thursday, April 22/86 Attended to correspondence as usual. Br. A. Winter, our short hand reporter was requested to go to Blackfoot to be there on Monday next to report the arguments of Mr. Johnson of Boise, who is said to be one of the best lawyers on the Pacific Slope, and Mr. J. H. Rawlins of this City, in the case of the Bear Lake Commissioner before Judge Hays. This involves the constitutionality of the test oath law, passed by the Idaho Legislature. I accompanied Br. Wilcken to my wife Emily’s and took her for a drive and then went to our niece’s.
23 April 1886 • Friday
Friday April 23/86 Bro. Wilcken called for me early this morning. Attended to correspondence as usual. Wrote letters to my wives Sarah Jane and Martha <and> to my daughters Mary Alice, Emily and Rose Annie and to my son Sylvester.
24 April 1886 • Saturday
Saturday, April 24/86 A letter was received in cipher to day, signed by John W. Young and J. T. Caine, that five thousand dollars were needed to prevent action on the Edmunds bill, the money to be put in a trustworthy person’s hands to be held. If the bill did pass, it is to be restored to us; if it does not pass, to be paid out to the party or parties of the agreement. Forty five hundred dollars more was needed for contingent expences; and in an interview we had with Bro. Jack this evening at Bro. F. Armstrong’s, President Taylor and myself instructed him to have the amount telegraphed. We had considerable conversation with Bro. Jack at Bro. Armstrong’s this evening concerning the general business of the office. Attended to correspondence <to-day> as usual.
25 April 1886 • Sunday
Sunday, April 25/86. Held our usual meeting Bro. W. White in charge. His son William and Bro. Barrell administered the sacrament. Br. White, his son William and Brs. Nuttall, Bateman and Wilcken, myself and President Taylor all spoke. This evening I accompanied Br. Wilcken to Bro. John C. Carlisle’s, where my wife Caroline is with her babe. I have only seen him once and then only for a few minutes for upwards of three months. It was a great pleasure to my wife and myself to meet, for we have had but few opportunities of seeing each other for a long time. Our son has improved greatly, I was very much pleased to see him and that he is so very promising and interesting a little fellow. His mother thinks he resembles me very much. We remained there about two hours.
26 April 1886 • Monday
Monday, April 26/86. Attended to correspondence as usual. I received a very sympathetic letter from my brother Angus this morning, respecting my position with the responsibility of the payment of my bonds resting upon me.
27 April 1886 • Tuesday
Tuesday, April 27/86 The same as usual. I wrote some articles for the Juvenile.
28 April 1886 • Wednesday
Wednesday, April 28/86 Attended to correspondence as usual.
29 April 1886 • Thursday
Thursday, April 29/86 Ditto.
30 April 1886 • Friday
Friday, April 30/86 Listened to and dictated correspondence. President Taylor and myself examined the plan of the interior of the temple to day. Our attention had been called by Bro. F. D. Richards, my son John Q and Bro. Jones, who lays rock on the temple, to certain changes in the building of the temple from the original plan. We wrote to Bro. F. D. Richards to make enquiry of the architect, Truman O. Angell, sen. concerning these changes. We notice that windows are left out of the west towers that appear in the steel plate engraving of the temple, and we are informed that the frieze in the western tower is being placed a number of feet lower than on the eastern towers. Br. Richards’ report of his interview with the architect, Br. Angell sets forth that Br. Angell claims the right to make such changes as he chooses in the plan of the building; that he did this when President Young was alive and has done it since his death. He considers this his privilege as the architect. We have written him upon this subject on receiving Br. Richards’ letter and requested him to inform us why these changes had been made[.] Up to the present we have received no reply. We have felt like calling a council of the architects to consider these changes, but we await Br. Angell’s reply. Respecting the interview we think it will be advisible to have Bro. McAllister of the St George temple and Bro. Merrill of the Logan temple meet with us and give us the benefit of their experience as to the most convenient way to arrange the rooms for the administration of endowments in the Salt Lake Temple.